Meet Larry at the AGM: Community Organizer and Young Leader FellowMarch 14, 2015
Leading up to our 2015 human rights conference in Brooklyn, NY, March 20-22, we are highlighting six Amnesty International USA staff members and moments in their life that have helped build their career in the human rights movement! Read all six in our “Meet me at the AGM” blog series.
NAME: Larry Fellows III
I WORK FOR AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA AS: Young Leader Fellow
IN THAT ROLE I:
- Work on both the Member Engagement & Field Organizing teams
- Focus on showing young people how to organize in their communities dealing with civil and human rights
- Uplift the voices of those that have been silenced
- Educate people on Amnesty International does
HOW DID YOU GET THERE?
I’m from St. Louis, so I was involved with the movement in Ferguson surrounding Mike Brown. What initially started as unconsciously rallying against police abuses became over 200 days of organizing a community. That entailed protesting for over 8 hours at night, picking up litter the following day, attending coalition and organizing meetings leading to being a co-founder of Millennial Activists United.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL?
I got involved with Amnesty when they held a de-escalation training on the QuikTrip lot in Ferguson in mid-August with the community. They approached me to see if I could rally up people to participate and built a relationship from there.
OUTSIDE OF WORK I HAVE A PASSION FOR: Music, food, love, my family and my friends. Anything that incorporates those five elements I’m a happy guy.
MY ACTIVIST TOOL OF CHOICE:
- Pen and paper
- Phone ←
- Other: My voice ←
WHY? I document a lot on social media when I’m out protesting/ organizing. My voice is also important because many don’t have the luxury to speak out so I make sure I take advantage of that liberty.
AN INDIVIDUAL WHO I ADMIRE IS Darnell Moore
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST BARRIER BUILDING YOUR CAREER?
Early on, I think identifying as a Black gay male in this work is challenging because I see very few who are doing this type of work but eventually I met quite a few who have become some of my closest friends. Then I realized a lot of people look up to me, so being a role model has also been a challenge but I can’t do more than just be myself.
THE GUTSIEST THINK I HAVE EVER DONE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IS opened my mouth to chant, or speak against oppression.
AS AN ACTIVIST I WAS MOST OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE WHEN:
Honestly I’m not a very talkative or social person, but I’ve been placed in many situations where I had to be social or an extrovert. Openly talking about my experiences in Ferguson has not been easy, whether it has been to people I know, strangers I meet, speaking to schools or the media, but I know how important it is to tell my story. I now live out of my comfort zone everyday!
THE MOST IMPORTANT CLASS YOU TOOK IN SCHOOL: Taking graphic design in high school was the most exhilarating class I took in high school, I knew how to use new Macs that we got in, and along with my best friend at the time we taught the class how to use them. I also love being able to express myself as an artist on a medium that I use really well.
WHAT SPARKED YOUR PASSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS WORK?
I think what sparked my passion for human rights work is that I’ve never liked seeing people suffer or tortured. We’re all human, at the end of the day we have to occupy this planet with each other and it’s important to know that we need each other to survive.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME AND GIVE YOURSELF 3 PIECES OF ADVICE WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
- Always be yourself.
- Speak up, stand your ground.
- Your possibilities are endless.
The “Meet me at the AGM” blog series highlights six Amnesty International USA staff members and moments in their life that have helped build their career in the human rights movement.
There are many paths, types of work, areas of interest and specialties that make up the Amnesty movement. See how these young professionals tackled barriers, faced challenges and made a career in human rights.
Meet Larry and hundreds more on March 20-22, at our biggest human rights conference of the year in Brooklyn, NY. Nearly 1,000 activists are expected to attend what will likely be our largest Annual General Meeting to date. Register online here!